FDA Considers Genetically Altered Fish In Secret:
As it moves to approve the first genetically engineered animal for human consumption, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is evaluating the product as a veterinary drug to avoid public disclosure of the process. The government agency responsible for protecting public health and safety plans to sign off on a hugely controversial product, genetically modified fish, but wants to keep the gory details from Americans who will eventually eat it. To keep information secret, the FDA is assessing the fish as a veterinary drug because it allows the agency to deliberate behind closed doors. The classification also permits critical data and research submitted by the company that will create the product to remain confidential. Called AquaAdvantage, the altered salmon could be served in U.S. households within the next few years. So far FDA scientists claim the modified fish is “as safe to eat as food from other Atlantic salmon” and that they’ve seen “no biologically relevant differences” between the real fish and its artificial counterpart. Most assuring is that the covert FDA evaluations have determined that there’s a “reasonable certainty” of no harm from consumption of food from “triploid salmon.” The only difference between the natural and enhanced salmon is that the modified species is given a special gene and growth hormone that makes it develop twice as fast. The Massachusetts company (Aqua Bounty Technologies Inc.) that came up with the idea claims its specially engineered version is identical to the Atlantic salmon except for the speed of its growth. Those willing to take a chance on this lab creation should at the very least have full disclosure from the government agency that approves it. Not that the FDA is trustworthy. The scandal-plagued agency is notorious for compromising public health to protect the profits of companies that pay it hundreds of millions of dollars in “fees” to get their products approved. Among the many examples is a controversial FDA-approved cervical cancer vaccine (Gardasil) linked to the deaths of dozens of girls and adverse reactions in thousands more. Pharmaceutical giant Merck manufactures Gardasil and the FDA has gone out of its way to cater to the powerful drug company by expediting expanded approval of the vaccine, which has been promoted as a sort of miracle shot that can prevent certain strains of cervical cancer caused by Human Papillomavirus (HPV).